The British Olympic Association has advised Team GB not to bring their mobile phones to Beijing, due to spying fears.
British athletes competing at the Winter Olympics have been told by the British Olympic Association (BOA) to avoid bringing their phones to Beijing for the Winter Olympics in February, due to fears the Chinese government may hack them.
The BOA have offered the athletes temporary phones to take in their stead, to ensure potentially sensitive personal and training information will be protected from reaching Chinese authorities.
Athletes have not, however, been banned from taking their own devices. The BOA has instead encouraged the competitors to “make their own choice” after highlighting the potential risks to their privacy.
China will allow foreign athletes to temporarily access Facebook and Twitter during the Games, platforms ordinary Chinese citizens are prohibited from using, which has also created security concerns over what information the Chinese government could have access to, the Guardian reports.
Chinese authorities have previously been caught installing apps on tourists’ phones which had the capability to download texts, emails and contacts to keep track of individuals in their nation.
It is becoming common practice in China for police to scan individuals’ devices for “illegal information” during routine encounters with citizens, such as traffic stops. The communist state also uses facial recognition software to monitor its citizens, initially starting with the Muslim population of Xinjiang, but has since begun using it on citizens across their nation.
— Breitbart Tech (@BreitbartTech) June 28, 2018
The anxiety around Chinese authorities spying on British citizens is a major concern, with revelations this week from MI5 that a Chinese spy had been discovered to have successfully infiltrated the British Parliament.
The alleged spy, Christine Ching Kui Lee was exposed as a donor to Labour MP and former Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade, Barry Gardiner, giving the Labour Party almost £700,000 in political donations.
MI5 claims Christine Ching Kui Lee, sought to influence British politics and make the UK political landscape more “favourable to the CCP’s agenda” as well as challenging those “that raise concerns about CCP activity, such as human rights”.
Communist Spies Impersonating Hong Kong Refugees to Enter the UK: Report https://t.co/WXCYIF3kDa
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) August 10, 2021
Several nations including the UK, Canada and the United States have imposed a so-called diplomatic boycott on the Chinese Winter Games, meaning politicians and heads of state will not attend. Undermining the stance is the fact the nations will still allow their athletes to compete, meaning the actual impact on the games by the ‘boycott’ will be minimal, if felt at all.
The minor boycott, nevertheless, is in place largely due to increasing concerns about human rights abuses in China and in particular their treatment of Uyghur Muslims.
Uyghur Muslims and other locals in the Chinese region of Xinjiang have been rounded up and forced into hundreds of concentration camps where they are subjected to torture, rape, enslavement and indoctrination. The campaign against the people Xinjiang has been recognised as a genocide.
Despite mounting evidence of atrocities, including escapee testimonies, Chinese officials deny these are concentration camps, instead call them “vocational training” centres.
Chinese state media portrays the forced sterilization of Uyghur women as a triumph of feminism because they don't have to raise children. https://t.co/D5Gjwvs944
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) January 10, 2021